1. Louisiana Tech (8-1, 5-0, Last Week: #1)
The Bulldogs have the best record in C-USA, so they’ll take the top spot on this list. However, I’m still interested to see what they do against Marshall on Friday night. Six of Tech’s eight wins are against sub-.500 or FCS teams. That aside, the 35-point victory over North Texas last Saturday was impressive.
2. Marshall (6-3, 4-1, LW: #2)
I was tempted to put FAU over Marshall, but I know the havoc that would ensue if I actually did so. Right now, I believe if the two teams played again, the Owls would get the victory. Take a listen to Lane Kiffin’s postgame following last week’s win over FIU and he’s told his team that they did “win.” That aside, the Herd hold strong victories over WKU and most importantly, the tiebreaker over FAU.
3. Florida Atlantic (7-3, 5-1, LW: #4)
Their victory over rival FIU was a complete domination that I witnessed first-hand. The 30-point margin of victory doesn’t tell the whole story. With Chris Robison’s continued ascent into the upper echelon of C-USA QB’s, along with the emergence of Malcolm Davidson, the Owls are close to firing on all cylinders and Glenn Spencer’s defense is rounding into form after a rough start against Ohio State and UCF.
4. Southern Miss (6-3, 4-1, LW: #5)
Jay Hopson’s team may be the most perplexing in the conference. They boast the league’s top QB-WR duo (sorry J’Mar Smith & Adrian Hardy) and a litany of talent of defense. But they don’t always play up to their potential. Their decisive win over UAB was a nice to see, now the test is can they finish. A West division crown isn’t outside the realm of possibility, but they’ll need some help.
5. Western Kentucky (6-4, 4-2, LW: #6)
The Tops’ victory over Arkansas sent Chad Morris into the unemployment line and was a nice homecoming for quarterback Ty Storey. Arguably C-USA’s biggest surprise story has been Tyson Helton’s team. They’re are on a bye before taking on the Golden Eagles. It’ll be interesting to see one of the better defenses in the conference against a potent Southern Miss offense.
6. UAB (6-3, 3-2, LW: #3)
It’s hard to know what to make of this year’s UAB Blazers. Just like La Tech, they boast victories over teams who are struggling. However, I don’t think they’re as bad as the loss to Tennessee and last Saturday’s 37-2 defeat at Southern Miss. What is clear is they miss a healthy Spencer Brown and it looks like Dylan Hopkins will get the start at UTEP this weekend.
7. Charlotte (5-5, 3-3, LW: #8)
The 49ers gutted out a 28-21 victory in El Paso against UTEP to pickup their fifth victory. Chris Reynolds proves that he’s the real-deal and it’s even more impressive that they won without C-USA’s best running back in Benny Lemay. They’ll need him when they welcome Marshall to Jerry Richardson Stadium on the 23rd.
8. FIU (5-5, 3-4, LW: #7)
In what’s been a disappointing season, the Panthers’ 37-7 loss to rival FAU continues what’s been a trend for Butch Davis’ team. In order to have any chance of getting to six wins and bowl-eligibility, they must perform better on offense and hold the opposition to under their season average of 206.2 yards per contest.
9. North Texas (4-6, 3-3, LW: #9)
Mean Green fans and C-USA as a whole got their first glimpse of what the future may look like without Mason Fine – and it wasn’t pretty. Now, with two games to go, they need to win out to become bowl-eligible and Fine’s status is uncertain after suffering a concussion.
10. Middle Tennessee (3-6, 2-3, LW: #10)
Rick Stockstill’s Blue Raiders come off a bye needing wins in each of their final three games to get to six. The first two contests against Rice and ODU are very much attainable. Look for quarterback Asher O’Hara to be featured, as he’s in striking distance of a 1,000-yard rushing season.
11. UTSA (4-5, 3-2, LW: #11)
The Roadrunners came from behind to beat ODU on the road and secure their fourth win of the year. Local product Sincere McCormick has been a promising player and should be C-USA’s Newcomer of the Year. Now, the question is, does a fifth victory lock Frank Wilson in for another year in San Antonio? They’ll have their work cut out of them, playing Southern Miss on Saturday, followed by FAU and La Tech.
12. UTEP (1-8, 0-6, LW: #14)
The Miners’ offense has shown signs of life the past two weeks under quarterback Kai Locksley. They couldn’t finish against Charlotte but will have chances at wins against New Mexico State and Rice to close the year. This Saturday’s game against UAB is asking too much of the rebuilding program.
13. ODU (1-9, 0-6, LW: #12)
Freshman quarterback Hayden Wolff showed promise is his first home start for the Monarchs. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to hang on and beat UTSA. They have a bye this week, then face MTSU and Charlotte. A one-win season is a distinct possibility in Norfolk.
14. Rice (0-9, 0-5, LW: #13)
There’s no denying the Rice has talent on their roster. They just don’t have enough to get over that threshold and secure a win. What’s known is they’ll play hard for four quarters and each of their final three games will give them a chance at that elusive victory.